Friday, November 29, 2013

Papering Over Public K-12 School Reform- Michelle Rhee?

Papering Over Public K-12 School Reform  By Seth Sandronsky
 Private interests are busy paying for political favors from lawmakers at the state Capitol in California, writes Dan Morain, a columnist with The Sacramento Bee:
According to him, what we know about Sen. Ron Calderon, a pro-business Democrat representing Montebello, and snared in an FBI sting operation recently, is just the tip of the dollars-and-politics iceberg. 
The good senator has ample company, Morain continues. He mentions other actors and forces in the fetid pay-to-play of California state politics. 
Yet his column omits the donor role of a leading public K-12 school reform group under the state Capitol dome. What is going on? 
Al Jazeera America’s Oct. 31 unveiling of an FBI affidavit that alleges Sen. Calderon’s multiple alleged wrongdoings includes his brother Thomas Calderon’s meeting with star education reformer Michelle Rhee’s lobbyists. Her StudentsFirst group operates from a national headquarters in Sacramento. 
The affidavit alleges that StudentsFirst lobbyists met with Sen. Calderon’s brother on Feb. 20. On Feb. 21, Sen. Calderon introduced a teacher-reform measure, Senate Bill 441 that Rhee’s group supports: 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fast for Immigration Reform - for Thanksgiving

Pressure and Passivity on Immigration

President Obama made the case for immigration reform again on Monday, in a speech in San Francisco that seemed mostly directed to Republicans in Congress, who aren’t listening. (see
Noting the Republican resistance to passing a single comprehensive bill, he struck an oddly lighthearted note. “It’s Thanksgiving,” he said. “We can carve that bird into multiple pieces — a drumstick here, breast meat there.” This drew chuckles. By suggesting that large-scale immigration overhaul can be done incrementally, he was retreating from an argument that has guided reform advocates for a decade: fixing the broken system requires three things at once — tighter enforcement, an improved flow of new immigrants and legalization for the 11 million living here outside the law.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Public Universities Should be Free

Public education should be free. If it isn't free, it isn't public education.
Aaron Bady.  Al Jazeera.
This should not be a controversial assertion. This should be common sense. But Americans have forgotten what the "public" in "public education" actually means (or used to mean). The problem is that the word no longer has anything to refer to: This country's public universities have been radically transformed. The change has happened so slowly and so gradually — bit by bit, cut by cut over half a century — that it can be seen really only in retrospect. But with just a small amount of historical perspective, the change is dramatic: public universities that once charged themselves to open their doors to all who could benefit by attending — that were, by definition, the public property of the entire state — have become something entirely different.
What we still call public universities would be more accurately described as state-controlled private universities — corporate entities that think and behave like businesses. Whereas there once was a public mission to educate the republic's citizens, there is now the goal of satisfying the educational needs of the market, aided by PR departments that brand degrees as commodities and build consumer interest, always with an eye to the bottom line. And while public universities once sought to advance the industry of the state as a whole, with an eye to the common good, shortfalls in public funding have led to universities' treating their research capacity as a source of primary fundraising, developing new technologies and products for the private sector, explicitly to raise the money they need to operate. Conflicts of interest are now commonplace.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How Charter Schools Are Undermining Public Education

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why Good Teachers Embrace Culture

Meeting students where they are often requires knowing, celebrating, and incorporating their cultural backgrounds.

By Sophie Quinton

Arizona's attorney general called the program "propagandizing and brainwashing." An administrative law judge ruled that it "promotes racial resentment against 'Whites,' and advocates ethnic solidarity of Latinos."
With that, the Tucson Unified School District's controversial Mexican-American studies courses shut down in 2011. Yet a University of Arizona study found that the mostly Latino students who took the courses were 46 percent to 150 percent more likely to graduate from high school than those who did not. The study also determined positive effects on math and reading test scores. An independent audit of the curriculum confirmed that taking the courses helped students succeed in school.
All good teachers build a bridge between what students know and what they need to learn. Yet teaching that embraces students' cultural backgrounds has largely been left out of current debates on what makes teachers effective. The drama in Tucson helps explain why: Culturally responsive teaching often requires confronting some of the most painful divides in American life.

Monday, November 18, 2013

How our public schools became a threat.

How our Public Schools Became a 'Communist Threat'

By Paul Buchheit

Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast called the public school system a "socialist regime." Michelle Rhee cautions us against commending students for their 'participation' in sports and other activities.
Privatizers believe that any form of working together as a community is anti-American. To them, individual achievement is all that matters. They're now applying their winner-take-all profit motive to our children.

We're Sliding Backwards, Towards "Separate and Unequal"

In 1954, the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education seemed to place our country on the right track. Chief Justice Earl Warren said that education "is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms." Thurgood Marshall insisted on "the right of every American to an equal start in life."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Journalists get the data wrong on school improvement

by Jeff Bryant
It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry when an “All-Purpose-Pundit” atThe New York Times takes it upon him/herself to write a commentary about education.
“Thomas Friedman is infamous for his uninformed pieces on education,” Larry Ferlazzo, a retired schoolteacher and ubiquitous education commentator on the Internet recently observed. And there’s “David Brooks, who is equally off-base.”
Diane Ravitch, lamenting a recent column by Times editorialist Bill Keller, who lazily blamed widespread problems with education performance on university teacher preparation programs (without mustering a shred of evidence to support his claim), concluded, “It would be wonderful if theNew York Times elevated someone to the op-ed page as a columnist who actually knew something about education.”
Staying true to form last week was Times opinionator Nicholas Kritsof. Prompted by the latest results of the National Assessment of Education Progress, aka “the Nation’s Report Card,” Kritsof observed on Twitter, “Latest NAEP school test scores suggest that school reform helps. Big improvements in DC & Tennessee, both centers of reform.”
Since 1990, the “Main NAEP,” given every other year in grades 4 and 8 to measure national and state achievement in reading and math, has led to all sorts of overblown claims. This year’s results have been subjected to the same tendencies – despite the fact that the results were described as“stubbornly mixed” by reliable news outlets, with stagnation in 4th grade reading and math and slight gains in 8th grade reading only.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Krugman- The Mutilated Economy

RS Seminar- Economic Crisis: Krugman- The Mutilated Economy: The Mutilated Economy By  PAUL KRUGMAN Five years and eleven months have now passed since the U.S. economy entered recession. Offici...
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